As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month Campaign, #UnidosWeGrow, we are excited to talk about the power of community and diversity within the Latino culture, and how perseverance through barriers leads to prosperity, growth, and success.
Meet our fourth TurboTax customer from the #UnidosWeGrow video series: Genesis Arizmendi. She is originally from Nogales, AZ, a first-generation American, and Provost’s Early Career Fellow in Special Education at the University of Texas-Austin. Genesis is in charge of developing research programs that address educational and health disparities impacting Latino children. She focuses on improving clinical practices and educational decision-making for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Click on the video below to watch her inspirational story.
Meet Genesis Arizmendi
Dedication and hard work can lead anyone to a bright future, but making an impact in your community fills your heart with satisfaction and gives you purpose. Genesis Arizmendi is a fierce advocate of Latino children to preserve their identity, their culture, their language by hopelly building some foundation within the educational, health and university system.
Growing up in a border town next to Sonora, Mexico, where all her family is from, gave Genesis an early sense of how bicultural families in different communities experience similar challenges and how those families learn to thrive regardless of their circumstances. Empowered by her family’s persistent message of “education leads to success,” Genesis embarked on her journey in Special Education, attaining her PhD in Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at the University of Arizona. She then completed an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in Educational Psychology. She also received the Distinguished Early Career Professional (ECP) Certificate awarded by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, which recognizes ECPs in the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology who are making an impact in the areas of leadership, volunteering, or advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.
As the first person in her family to be born in the United States, she served as a language broker and helped her family navigate different English-speaking settings. Genesis didn’t just help her family as she grew up, but she also made huge accomplishments in her career with the purpose of helping her community. She now would like to serve as a motivator to other Latinos to pursue their dreams. She attributes her success to the support of her family and the desire to help others.
As Genesis has worked with hundreds of students and patients over the last decade, she noticed a pattern in which Spanish-speaking Latino children experience difficulties in school not because of the difficulty of the content, but because the language supports for learning the content weren’t in place. This was also the case in clinical evaluations that were administered in English only.
This left them feeling like they weren’t good enough and impacted their evaluation and treatment plans. This mindset usually held these patients back from development in other aspects of their lives. Few specialists in the field are bilingual or bicultural, affecting the kids who came from different backgrounds and cultures, and spoke other languages. Thisultimately impacted how they communicated and expressed themselves. Genesis took this as an opportunity to specifically seek out clinical experiences with heavy Spanish speaking caseloads to improve clinical evaluations with her patients by performing them in Spanish, too. For this reason, the primary focus of her research and clinical career has been on special education to help diverse children experiencing difficulties in the classroom succeed. Genesis hopes to open doors for future speech-language pathologists and build a foundation of success to encourage multicultural patients and help families cope with their conditions, and inspire them to embrace their culture and heritage. That’s how #UnidosWeGrow!
TurboTax is proud to recognize these inspiring stories that demonstrate U.S. Hispanics’ determination and the power of community. By celebrating their amazing journeys, we want to uplift and inspire others to reach their financial goals and dreams.
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